This list is compiled as an encouragement to those who care for children to search even further among the large range of children’s books available which address these difficult life issues. These books are suitable for pre-school through primary school age groupings. All include many pictures along with beautiful text.
It’s Just Different Now
Linda Espie and Gabrielle Greig - Spectrum Publications, Melbourne, 1999
Henry’s parents have separated and he slowly adjusts to the many changes that are occurring.
Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks - Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1997
Old Pig and Granddaughter have shared their lives. Old Pig recognises that death approaches and this gentle book tells of their last, positive times together.
I’ll Always Love You
Hans Wilhelm Dragonfly Books - Crown Publishers, New York, 1985
Elfie is “the best dog in the world”. His owner relates his life story and his eventual death, reflecting on the importance of always letting people know their importance to us in our lives.
Margaret Wild and Noela Young - Omnibus Books, Sydney, 1993
Toby is a fourteen year old dog, and his three young owners face his impending death with very different responses. A gentle reminder that we all express grief differently – not correctly or incorrectly – just differently.
When Dinosaurs Die
Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown - Little, Brown and Company, New York, 1996
A well loved book which explains in simple terms the event of death and the many responses we can have to it.
Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown - Little, Brown and Company, New York, 1986
The many changes in families which occur when separation and divorce take place are simply and clearly explained. The range of emotional and practical responses are addressed with the overall aim of children not feeling isolated in the event.
The Tenth Good Thing about Barney
Judith Viorst - Simon and Schuster 1971
A classic book relating to the death of Barney the cat. Barney’s owner lists ten good things about Barney which helps him understand the ongoing impact of a life after death.
Mem Fox and Kathryn Brown - Puffin Books, Ringwood, 1994
Boris the Pirate has a much loved parrot. Boris is tough and fearless but cries when his parrot dies. A lovely book reminding us that tears are a natural response to loss.
Margaret Wild and Dee Huxley - Margaret Hamilton Publishers, Sydney, 1990
Ellie’s grandmother is struggling with the onset of dementia. This story tells of their private strategies to hold on to their memories.
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf
Leo Buscaglia, Charles B.Slack Book Division, New York, 1982
This classic tale of the last leaf left on the tree when Autumn comes is a lovely reminder of the cycles of life and death.
Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between
Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen - Puffin Books, Ringwood, 1989
The life-cycle is presented as the natural process it is, with gentle and relevant drawings to explain large concepts to small people.
Healing Your Grieving Heart - For Kids
Alan D. Wolfelt Fort Companion Press, Colorado, 2001
This book contains simple ideas for children experiencing grief. Sub-titled '100 Practical Ideas' it is an excellent book for an adult and child to read together.
Janine Amos, Cherrytree Press, Berkshire, 1997
This book is one in the 'Separation' series for children. Gently illustrated it takes a child through feelings, helping themselves to cope, and helping themselves move on through the grief.
Saying Goodbye to a Brother or Sister
Chrysalis Books Group, London, 2005
This book was produced by The Child Bereavement Trust to offer information to young children regarding death. The book follows a process from illness, to the shock of news of a death, to all the normal feelings a child may have right through to the time of the funeral and sharing memories of the perosn they loved.
What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
Trevor Romain, Free Spirit Publishing Minneapolis, 1999
This writer has a life-time of experience in dealing with children's grief. Questions often asked by a child are responded to clearly. Emotions, practical issues, fears and uncertainties are all addressed matter-of-factly and will be a great help to any adult assisting a grieving child.
Death in a Nut
Eric Maddern, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, London, 2005
This traditional Scottish story is re-told in this beautifully illustrated book. Jack is a young boy facing the reality of Death. Jack tries to contain Death and in the process realises that the cycle of life depends on Death as much as it does on Birth.
The Sounds of the Sea
Jacqueline Harvey, Lothian Publishing, Sydney, 2005
Sam is a young boy whose Mother dies following an illness. Sam's story of his gradual process through anger, fear and grief with the help of his loving grandparents is a comforting one for any child whose parent has died.
Joy Cowley, Scholastic Books, Sydney, 2001
Brodie's friend tells the story of how Brodie became sick and died. The story relates the feelings of Brodie's class-mates, their different cultural responses to the question 'where has Brodie gone?' and their realisation of their own importance in his life.
Lighthouse - A Story of Remembrance
Robert Munsch, Scholastic Books, Sydney, 2003
Sarah and her father make a special trip to the lighthouse her grandfather used to take her Father when he was a child. The trip itself and Sarah's memories of her grandfather mean that this small pilgrimage is a turning point in her grief journey.
When Someone Very Special Dies - children can learn to grieve
Marge Heegard - Woodland Press, 1988
A practical format for allowing children to understand the concept of death and how to develop coping skill in life.
Sad isn't Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids
R.W. Alley - Abbey Press, 1998
Written by a school counsellor, this book is an affirmation to children that while feelings of sadness are natural that there is safety, and good, and hearts do ultimately mend.
I Miss You: A first Look at Death
Pat Thomas, Lesley Harker - Barron's Educational Series, Inc. 2000
Full-colour illustrations assist this practical text in explaining the complex but normal feelings we have when someone we love dies. It is helpful to parents and teachers in their support of little ones who are grieving.
Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining death to children
Doris Stickney - Pilgrim Press/United Church Press
For those who believe in life after death this simple and beautiful story of water-bug's transformation into a dragonfly is helpful for little ones who ask so many questions when someone they love dies.
What is Death?
Etan Boritzer Lane - Veronica Books, 2000
A wonderful book which examines the many different customs and beliefs from around the globe. Not only is it easy to understand for the 8-10 year old, but also helps create understanding and tolerance of other beliefs.
When Goodbye is Forever
Lois Rock - Good Books Pub., 2004
An excellent book for those whose belief includes life after death in Heaven. Ideall for children 4-8 years.
Rainbow Feelings of Cancer - a book for children who have a loved one with cancer
Carrie Martin and Chia Martin - Hohm Press, 2001
Carrie's Mother was diagnosed with cancer when Carrie was 7 years old. This book arises from her experience and is a helpful tool in supporting young ones dealing with similar situations.
Our Mom has Cancer
A & A Ackerman - McGraw Hill, 2001
Abigail (11) and Adrienne (9) are sisters who espress their feelings in words and drawings about her illness. This book is sensitvely presented and offers a feeling of community in dealing with such losses.
25 Things to do when Grandpa passes away, Mom and Dad get divorced, or the Dog dies. Activities to help children suffering loss or change.
Laurie Kanyer - Parenting Pr., Inc., 2004
A collection of simple down-to-earth activies to manage the emotional responses to childhood loss. The author writes from a 20 year background in assisting children with a variety of losses.
We recommend both Peoplemaking Bookshop, 375 Camberwell Road, Camberwell www.peoplemaking.com.au – (03) 9813 2533 and Open Leaves Bookshop, 79 Cardigan Street, Carlton www.openleaves.com.au – (03) 9347 2355